FARGO, N.D. (KVLY) â€” Kids suffering from depression, anxiety or substance abuse need a place to go, and Joe Fluge, founder and president of K9 Crew, is on a mission to give them one.
“In 2016, a lot of the kids were dying from Fentanyl, heroin overdoses and stuff like that,” Fluge said. “I kind of sat down to think of what we could do to redirect the kids.”
K9 Crew gives kids ages 12 to 16 the ability to work with dogs and build professional skills that separate them from a toxic lifestyle.
Madee Jo Aubrey has grown leaps and bounds since becoming the first K9 Crew kid.
“It’s helped me become more responsible and focus on positive things,” Aubrey said. “It’s also helped me with procrastinating on homework and all the types of the things that are important.”
Madee’s mom, Lori Jo Rieber, wanted a way to help her as she struggled with depression.
Her daughter has not only learned challenging skills working with the dogs of K9 Crew, but she secured a job and improved her mental health.
“It gives your kids something to believe in and a focus other than themselves and getting in trouble or thinking bad thoughts,” Rieber said. “It totally reverses that.”
The program teaches a variety of skills from behavior to therapy.
Based on personal interests, the experience is customized for each kid to have the best end result.